Thursday, January 21, 2010

Spicy Chinese-Inspired Stew

OK, that was such a lame title. However, it does accurately describe my dinner tonight. I wanted something spicy and soupy, yet substantial for dinner. I had no recipe in mind, just worked with what was in the fridge..

1/2 C Millet
1 Onion, diced
3 fresh Green Chillies
1 stalk Celery, finely chopped
1" piece Ginger, cut into thin strips
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 large Carrot, diced
1 Zucchini, diced
1/2 head Broccoli, cut into florets with stems (peeled)
1/2 C tofu chopped
4 C water
1 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tsp Chilli sauce ( I used Sambal Oelek)
handful fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
Salt, to taste
few grinds Black Pepper

First, wash millet and place in a pressure cooker with 1 C water. It took about 2 whistles to cook in mine. Alternatively, one could cook millet on a stove top. While the millet cooks, chop onions, garlic, ginger, celery and green chillies. Saute in oil until onions are translucent and the garlic no longer smells raw. Add diced carrots and zucchini and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the water and let it boil with the broccoli and tofu for about 5 minutes. I had some left over baked tofu, so I decided to throw that in. Add the cooked millet, soy sauce, chilli sauce, salt and pepper and let simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Finally garnish with fresh torn coriander leaves.

This was my first recipe with millet and it was such a success! The millet added body and thickened on heating, making it more like a stew. The green chillies, soy sauce and chilli sauce make this Chinese-inspired. The tofu was a good protein boost to the stew. Also, the ingredients can be easily modified to use what is available. This stew/soup would taste great with corn, cabbage, bok choy etc. I think quinoa would also be a great addition instead of millet. This ended up clearing my sinus, aromatic and warming me from the inside.

Sarson da Saag

Trying new greens is a tricky business, but some times the results surprise you and you are so glad you dared to experiment. For me, using Sarson (mustard greens) was one such experience. Even though I used the frozen kind, available in Indian stores, the taste of mustard greens shone in this dish. I now look forward to trying this with the fresh variety. I was inspired by this and this, but tweaked the recipe to simplify it and suit my needs.

1 pack Frozen Sarson ( Mustard Greens )
1 pack Frozen Spinach
1 large Onion, sliced
2 tsp oil
2 cloves Garlic
1" piece Ginger
3-4 Green Chillies
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Coriander-Cumin powder
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 C water
2 tbsp Evaporated Milk
Salt, to taste

Heat oil and add the bay leaf and the cumin seeds. Saute onion, garlic, ginger and green chillies in the oil until translucent. Add coriander-cumin powder, turmeric and stir well. Add frozen greens and the water and cook covered for about 10 min on low heat until the greens are cooked. Stir in the garam masala and the evaporated milk and cook for about a minute. Let cool completely. Then remove the bay leaf and partially puree.

This entire dish was a breeze, especially using my hand blender, resulting in a creamy dark green curry. The evaporated milk makes it even more creamy. I would imagine that adding Paneer (Indian Cheese) would make this a very rich and special dish. The Saag goes great with Rotis.